N.C. Senate to vote to reconsider school veto override

The North Carolina Senate is expected to vote Monday night on overriding Governor Roy Cooper’s...
The North Carolina Senate is expected to vote Monday night on overriding Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill aimed at requiring an in-person option for all schools in the state.(North Carolina General Assembly)
Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 6:30 PM EST
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV/AP) - The North Carolina Senate will vote Wednesday on a motion to reconsider the veto override of Senate Bill 37, the school reopening bill.

The motion, if successful, will place the veto override back on the Senate calendar for consideration at a later date.

Senate Bill 37 requires schools to provide access to in-person learning under Plan A (minimal social distancing) for students with exceptional needs. It also requires schools to provide in-person learning options for all K-12 students under either Plan A or Plan B (moderate social distancing).

The motion requires a simple majority to pass.

On Tuesday, the Senate Bill 37 veto override failed to garner a supermajority by one vote.

The margin was 29-20.

Democratic Sen. Ben Clark, who is a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 37 and originally voted to pass it, was absent.

If the motion to reconsider the veto override is passed, Sen. Clark will have the opportunity to provide the critical vote necessary to advance his bill over Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto.

State lawmakers say Wednesday’s vote on the motion to reconsider is not a vote on the override. The override vote will take place at a later date to comply with the requirement in the Senate’s rules to provide 24 hours notice in advance of a veto override vote.

Senate rules allow “any senator who voted in the majority [to] move to reconsider the vote thereof.”

Twenty-nine senators, which is a majority, voted in favor of the March 1 veto override attempt. Therefore, any senator who voted in favor of the veto override may move to reconsider the vote.

A motion to reconsider will succeed if a simple majority, which is 26 senators, votes to support it.

“Sen. Ben Clark cosponsored Senate Bill 37 and voted for its passage the first time around. He was absent from yesterday’s veto override attempt, and if he voted ‘yes’ then the override would have been successful,” said N.C. Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham). “We intend to provide Sen. Clark the opportunity to advance the bill that bears his name.”

Hoke County Democrat Ben Clark got a leave of absence for Monday’s session.

He was one of three Senate Democrats who had voted last month for the legislation that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper had vetoed.

The Senate override likely would have been successful had two of the three Democrats stuck to supporting the measure. Only one did. The bill’s chief sponsor lamented “flip-flopping senators” after the unsuccessful override vote.

The Associated Press asked how he would have voted if he had been present.

“Clark declined to say Tuesday how he would have voted, writing that at this point it ‘would be considered disingenuous by most,” according to The Associated Press.

Senate Democrats were notified Tuesday evening that the motion to reconsider would be voted on Wednesday.

Senate Republicans will provide Senate Democrats with at least 24 hours notice before a veto override vote is taken.

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